Luxemburg (2004-09-27 to 2004-09-28)
My speech yesterday was something I rarely do: a debate. The first speaker was a patent lawyer. The organizers said it would be easier to set up the event if they could invite him too, and this person wasn't a cunning orator, so I took the risk--and I wiped the floor with him.
His speech presented fine examples of all the common confusions that I like to explain in my speeches about software patents. Not that he himself was confused--he was only trying to lead the audience astray. For instance he referred to "patenting software", which implies that software idea patents cover entire programs. He also described software idea patents as a way to "protect software", from which one would never guess that the main effect of software patents on software developers is to put them at risk of being sued. (See softwarepatents.co.uk for more explanation.)
I'm told that an assistant to the relevant minister was there. Perhaps the speech will do some good. We are trying to ask various EU countries to change their votes on the issue; just a couple more small countries will be enough to win the battle.
This morning I woke up for no particular reason before 8am and could not get back to sleep. So I was willing to travel to the University of Luxemburg, where a newspaper interview was supposed to occur. Reportedly a control-freak PR person at the university had decided to make both me and the reporter go there, even though it would have been more convenient for both of us if the reporter had come to the place I was staying.
After that interview I took a few trains, and now I'm in Essen, Germany. After my speech here I have to take more trains to Amsterdam this evening. "Essen" means "eating", so it's delightfully ironic that my visit here is so short that I won't have time to eat.